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Art Institute of Chicago

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Overview: Magritte at The Art Institute of Chicago

Unexpectedly, I also got to see Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 at the Art Institute over the weekend. The exhibit begins with René Magritte's time in Brussels, weaving you through a maze configuration of galleries as you're introduced to his playful surrealist dreamscapes (and sometimes nightmarish) of figures, forms and design-heavy canvases. His handling of oil paint is at once seamless, which iterates his exceptional acumen for working in trompe l'oeil, while maintaining his stylized hand through minimalist shapes.

Working alongside surrealist contemporaries such as Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, his metaphorical works force viewers to question the reality of multiple planes and how we process what we're seeing within a work.

Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance

The Philosopher's Lamp

The Philosopher's Lamp

Included during this era is perhaps his most recognizable work The Treachery of Images with its infamous moniker Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe), calling to attention the representation of objects and how the image of the pipe is not truly a pipe but simply a rendering of one. 

My favorite part of the show was the center hallway, a long gallery of parallel walls. Viewers could absorb the imagery of singular works such as Clairvoyance, The Portrait and The Philosopher's Lamp. While his imagery is not always explicitly violent, there are a few bloodied images of animals, certainly a nod to the German occupation of Belgium during WWII.

The exhibit of over 100 pieces closes with two familiar works (part of the permanent collection at the Art Institute) including Time Transfixed and On the Threshold of Liberty. 

Time Transfixed

Time Transfixed

On the Threshold of Liberty

On the Threshold of Liberty

The show is only open for one more week (through October 13th) but if you're in Chicago, I recommend seeing this exhibit. Tickets are available here

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Looking Ahead: 2012 Art Exhibits and a Moment for John Chamberlain

We're taking a few days to break and enjoy the food, company and warmth of the holiday. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah. Here are a few highlights current and upcoming to look forward to this winter.

Freelancing photo journalist and innovator Weegee (1899-1968) has a show opening at International Center of Photography in New York opening this February. His current exhibit, Naked Hollywood, at Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles runs through February 27th.

Beauty and the Book, an exhibit of 19th and 20th century decorative art folios begins at The Art Institute of Chiacago on February 28th.

The curiosities and unanswered of the 1960s movement Fluxus is explored at University of Michigan Museum of Art this February.  (February's turning out to be a busy month)!

On a more serious end note, I want to take a moment of pause to ponder the works of John Chamberlain, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. His larger-than-life metalworks and mixed media pieces made of discarded car parts awed us with their intimidating scale and gnarled presence.

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